Plastic straws and cotton buds could be banned within a year

Plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton wool buds ‘could be banned from 2019’

-Michael Gove could ban cotton buds and plastic straws from as soon as 2019

-The Environment Secretary will say Britain needs to do more to cut plastic

-Announcement is a boost for the Mail’s ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ campaign

Plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds could be banned as soon as next year, Michael Gove will announce today.

The Environmental Secretary is making good on a promise to tackle waste and pollution with other measures, including a deposit and return scheme on plastic bottles, to come.

Plastic straws and cotton buds could be banned within a year

The moves are evidence of a how politicians and businesses have woken up to the real public anger over the threat to the environment posed by throwaway plastic.

The ban was trailed earlier this year, but it drew criticism from some disability rights campaigners, as straws are vital to help people with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or muscular dystrophy to consume food and drink safely.

The government will now consult on allowing straws to be sold in pharmacies and letting restaurants and pubs stock straws for customers who ask for them. The distribution and sale would become illegal at some point between October next year and October 2020.

It comes after a flurry of announcements of a ban on microbeads, petrol and diesel cars being outlawed by 2040 and a bottle deposit scheme, as Mr Gove seeks to burnish his party’s green credentials.

He said: “Our precious oceans and the wildlife within need urgent protection from the devastation throw-away plastic items can cause.

“In England we are taking world-leading action with our ban on microbeads, and thanks to the public’s support have taken over 15 billion plastic bags out of circulation with our 5p charge.

“I commend retailers, bars and restaurants that have already committed to removing plastic straws and stirrers. But we recognise we need to do more.

“Today we step up our efforts to turn the tide on plastic pollution and ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

Fast food giants McDonalds and Starbucks have already announced their intention to ban plastic straws from their outlets, in an attempt to reduce the escalating amounts of plastic ending up in landfill and in the oceans.

Sam Chetan Welsh, political adviser for Greenpeace, said: “Our society’s addiction to throwaway plastic is fuelling a global environmental crisis that must be tackled.

“Ministers are doing the sensible thing by looking to ban single-use plastic items that can be easily replaced with better alternatives or that we can simply do without. But this should be just the start.

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